Maine History - the history of Maine
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Maine   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Maine History


Maine History

Before the arrival of Europeans, Maine was inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Native American peoples including the Wabanaki, Passamaquoddy and Penobscots.

The area was settled by both French and English settlers in the early 17th century, the French arriving in 1604, and the English in 1607. The province became part of the English Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652, but nevertheless was the scene of several battles between the English and French over control the territory.

The territory was also fought over by the American and British forces during both the American Revolution (1775 to 1783) and the War of 1812. In fact, the border between Maine and British North America (which later to become Canada) was not finalized until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Although politically part of Massachusetts, Maine was physically separated from the rest of the state. As a result, the idea arose that Maine ought to be admitted to the Union as a separate state. This idea was politically convienent, as the Missouri Compromise required that slave and free states be admitted to the Union in equal numbers - and thus Maine was admitted to the Union on March 15th 1820.

In the late 19th century, Maine began to industrialize with the establishment of many textile mills. This was supplemented by the growth of a ship building industry (which was to contribute significantly to the US war effort in World War II).

Post war, some of Maine's traditional industries have gone into decline. The state's economy has however diversified into new fields, including telemarketing and tourism. Today Maine has an economy based on a mix of seafood (particularly lobsters), agricultural produce and industrial products. Maine is also an important transportation hub, with Portland being New England's busiest port.

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The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier

By Colin Woodard

Colin Woodard
Released: 2005-04-26
Paperback (384 pages)

The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier
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  • The Lobster Coast Rebels Rusticators and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier
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“A thorough and engaging history of Maine’s rocky coast and its tough-minded people.”—Boston Herald

“[A] well-researched and well-written cultural and ecological history of stubborn perseverance.”—USA Today

For more than four hundred years the people of coastal Maine have clung to their rocky, wind-swept lands, resisting outsiders’ attempts to control them while harvesting the astonishing bounty of the Gulf of Maine. Today’s independent, self-sufficient lobstermen belong to the communities imbued with a European sense of ties between land and people, but threatened by the forces of homogenization spreading up the eastern seaboard.

In the tradition of William Warner’s Beautiful Swimmers, veteran journalist Colin Woodard (author of American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good) traces the history of the rugged fishing communities that dot the coast of Maine and the prized crustacean that has long provided their livelihood. Through forgotten wars and rebellions, and with a deep tradition of resistance to interference by people “from away,” Maine’s lobstermen have defended an earlier vision of America while defying the “tragedy of the commons”—the notion that people always overexploit their shared property. Instead, these icons of American individualism represent a rare example of true communal values and collaboration through grit, courage, and hard-won wisdom.

Hidden History of Maine

By Harry Gratwick

Brand: The History Press
Released: 2010-04-10
Paperback (128 pages)

Hidden History of Maine
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The history of the Pine Tree State would be bare but for the contributions of hardy and impassioned individuals--generals, governors, settlers and activists whose lives of leadership make up the story of Maine's "hidden history." Author Harry Gratwick creates intimate and detailed portraits of these Mainers, from the controversial missionary Sebastien Rale to Woolwich native William Phips, whose seafaring attacks against French Canada earned him the first governorship of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Gratwick also profiles inventors who "challenged the assumptions of their] time and place," such as Robert Benjamin Lewis, an African American from Gardiner who patented a hair growth product in the 1830s, and Margaret Knight, a York native who defied nineteenth-century sexism to earn the nickname "the female Edison." Discover four hundred years of Maine's history through the tales of its unique residents, from soprano Lillian Nordica, who left Farmington to become the most glamorous American opera singer of her day, to slugger George "Piano Legs" Gore, the only Mainer to have ever won a Major League batting championship.

Hidden History of Midcoast Maine

By Patricia M. Higgins

The History Press
Released: 2014-02-18
Paperback (160 pages)

Hidden History of Midcoast Maine
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From the Age of Discovery and the earliest settlement of America, Midcoast Maine has played surprising roles in America's history. Europeans might not have survived in the New World without the Kennebec beaver trade, the lessons of the Popham Colony and the friendships Maine's first settlers built. Experience the storied survival of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's military grandfather in precarious Revolutionary Maine and meet resilient, creative, noteworthy and notorious Midcoasters. Pat Higgins recounts Puritan power plays, the sea fight between the Boxer" and the "Enterprise," duels, U-boats and much more. Discover the fascinating and quirky bits of history that have remained hidden along the rocky coast from Portland to Acadia--until now.."

Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present

By Richard W. Judd

Brand: Univ of Maine Pr
Paperback (616 pages)

Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present
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Book by Judd, Richard W.

Coastal Maine: A Maritime History

By Roger F. Duncan

Brand: Countryman Press
Released: 2002-06-17
Paperback (572 pages)

Coastal Maine: A Maritime History
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A fascinating and comprehensive chronicle of four hundred years of maritime history along the Maine coast.

Roger Duncan recounts four hundred years of Maine's rich maritime history, from the early seafarers' discovery of its valuable resources and the families that settled the land, to Maine's role in the history of the US in peacetime and in war. He traces the changes in Maine's economy over the past century: the demise of the coastal trade; the burgeoning popularity of pleasure boating after World War II; the hardships that beset the fishing and lumber industries; and the rise of tourism. This anecdotal panorama of people, land, boats, and water will absorb historians, nautical enthusiasts, and New Englanders alike. 105 black-and-white photographs and illustrations, 18 maps

The History of Maine from the Earliest Discovery of the Region By the Northmen Until the Present Time (Classic Reprint)

By John S. C. Abbott

Forgotten Books
Paperback (560 pages)

The History of Maine from the Earliest Discovery of the Region By the Northmen Until the Present Time (Classic Reprint)
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In the rich libraries of Portland, Boston, and New Haven, the writer has found ample material for his work. He has endeavored to give the reader his authority for every important statement he has made. Where there is irreconcilable discrepancy in the annals of the past, he has endeavored faithfully to give each side. The history commences with the landing of the Northmen upon our shores about a thousand years ago, and closes with the present grandeur of the State, when our prosperous Republic is about to celebrate the centennial anniversary of its existence as an independent nation. The writer has only to say, in conclusion, that he feels that this is one of the last labors of his long life. He has spared no pains to make this history as accurate as possible ;and he now commends it to the kindly consideration of the sous and daughters of Maine. JOHN S. C. ABBOTT. FAIR HA VEX, CONK.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)

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Forgotten Books is a publisher of historical writings, such as: Philosophy, Classics, Science, Religion, History, Folklore and Mythology.

Forgotten Books' Classic Reprint Series utilizes the latest technology to regenerate facsimiles of historically important writings. Careful attention has been made to accurately preserve the original format of each page whilst digitally enhancing the aged text. Read books online for free at

Maine: A History

By Charles E. Clark

Clark Charles E
Paperback (236 pages)

Maine: A History
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  • ISBN13: 9780393333442
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The place that Ferdinando Gorges long ago named Maine, on the far northeastern edge of the nation, is today much the same as it was then: the knife-edge of Mount Katahdin; the flatlands of Aroostook; Sebago Lake; the islands of Casco Bay. But to author Charles E. Clark and those who, like him, have lived there, the history of the place called Maine is really the history of people's images of it; and, as this book shows, those images have changed greatly.

For the Abnaki Indians who came east, Maine was Dawnland. Other settlers--Europeans--came west, searching first for Norumbega, a mythical city of gold and silver. What they found was more modest, but still it was enough to set them thinking of the different uses to which the place might be put. Most saw what they wanted to see: for naturalist John Josselyn, the region was an idyllic curiosity; Cotton Mather saw a moral desert inviting conquest by Puritan Massachusetts; James Sullivan pictured Maine as a symbol of the romantic nationalism of the new American nation; and in the nineteenth century, John Alfred Poore envisioned it as a vast commercial empire of shipbuilding and lumbering, with Portland as its capital. For Quaker New Dow, Maine was a crucible for testing prohibition and other reforms; for entrepreneurs after the Civil War, it was the site of paper manufacturing and potato farming that brought new exploitation, new French-Canadian immigrants, and a new concern for conservation of dwindling resources. Others more recently have seen a part-time Maine: a summer home to be visited once a year or marketed to those who do.

Today, Maine continues to evoke in resident and visitor alike conflicting images that mirror the desire both for more jobs and cheaper energy, and for unspoiled coastlines and forest--both the quest for prosperity and the need for natural places where men's thoughts tend to be, in the words of Maine native Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "long, long thoughts."

Portland (ME) (Images of America)

By Frank H. Sleeper

Brand: Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2004-05-05
Paperback (128 pages)

Portland   (ME)  (Images  of  America)
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Portland is often associated with the mythological phoenix, the animal that rises out of the ashes of its apparent death. Life here has often been a struggle: to overcome the disastrous fires of 1775 and 1866; to rebuild after the change in Canadian policy in 1920 that devastated the waterfront; and to outlast the Depression and the other economic crises that have affected the area. The people of Portland have always faced these problems head on, survived, and rebuilt the city stronger then it was before. This delightful pictorial history is a moving tribute to their spirit and drive.
Portland features more than 200 images that together document life in Maine’s largest city over the last 130 years. We see immigrants arrive from all corners of the world and watch as they build lives and businesses in their new home; we witness the waterfront and Congress Street rise, fall, and rise again; and we observe how the political scene has changed and been changed by everyday people. Perhaps the most interesting photographs are those of everyday life: of people working, playing sports, relaxing, falling in love, and living life to its fullest.

French & Indian Wars in Maine (Military)

By Michael Dekker

Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2015-07-27
Paperback (160 pages)

French & Indian Wars in Maine (Military)
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For eight decades, an epic power struggle raged across a frontier that would become Maine. Between 1675 and 1759, British, French and Native Americans clashed in six distinct wars to stake and defend their land claims. Though the showdown between France and Great Britain was international in scale, the decidedly local conflicts in Maine pitted European settlers against Native American tribes. Native and European communities from the Penobscot to the Piscataqua Rivers suffered savage attacks. Countless men, women and children were killed, taken captive or sold into servitude. The native people of Maine were torn asunder by disease, social disintegration and political factionalism as they fought to maintain their autonomy in the face of unrelenting European pressure. This dark, tragic and largely forgotten struggle laid the foundation of Maine.

Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015

By Libby Bischof & Earle G., Jr. Shettleworth

Down East Books
Hardcover (200 pages)

Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015
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Maine has always played a rich and varied role in the art of photography. For hundreds of years, photographers, like other artists, have made their way to Maine to capture the natural beauty and human culture of the state. So, too, have many photographers come from Maine, and many contributions by Mainers have been made to the medium. Maine in Photography is the first comprehensive overview of the history of photography in the state. Providing basic knowledge of the most important people and institutions to have promoted photography, this volume also studies the ways in which photography has informed the understanding of the social and cultural history of Maine.
Beginning with the earliest daguerreotype portraits of the 1840s, this history traces the growth of the medium—emphasizing key contributions, such as the Stanley brothers’ invention of the dry plate process—through to the present. Key topics addressed throughout the book include the importance of photography in documenting labor and economic life, the close relationship between photography and the growth of tourism, and the role of Maine photographers in advancing the medium as a fine art form. Published in conjunction with the Maine Photo Project, this is a unique and timely addition to the body of work on the importance of Maine to American art.

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